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Migraine Headaches - Getting Beyond the Pain

Updated on August 7, 2011

Symptoms by FYInowHealth

Although frequency and intensity of migraine headaches vary from person to person, at least half of those suffering from migraine headaches are subjected to bed rest when a migraine hits. Pain is due to inflamed blood vessels and also triggered by a sudden life change, stress and change in brain chemistry.

Symptoms of migraines include:

*Moderate to severe pain (usually on one side of the head).

*Pain generally lasts from 4-72 hours.

*Pain is aggravated by physical activity.

*Heightened sensitivity to light and/or sound. May see flashing lights, lights appearing as zig-zags or an aura. These usually preceed a migraine.

*Nausea and vomiting.

Tension Headaches usually cause pain in the forehead and back of the head. They may cause tightness in the neck as well and tenderness of the temple area.

Cluster Headaches cause severe pain behind the eyes. Eyes may tear and become red. The nose may run. Some experience reddening of the face and become very sweaty.

Miggraine Triggers by Healthguru

It is important to know what can trigger a migraine:

*High levels of stress

*Foods (especially processed foods) such as cheeses, hot dogs, bacon and foods containing msg (monosodium glutamate).

*Some birth control pills or pills for hormone replacement therapy.

*Weather changes

*Too much sleep or lack thereof

*Skipping meals

*Perfumes or cleaning solutions

*Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, which is much sweeter than regular sugar has been known to cause migraines in some patients.


*Keep a diary or journal: Keep track of how you are doing emotionally.

*Know your stress levels and how often headaches occur.

*A diary will also help you know what foods may trigger your migraines.

*Maintain regular sleeping and eating patterns.

*Sufficient levels of Vitamin B and magnesium have been found to ward off migraine symptoms for some persons.

*Applying a cold compress may help relieve symptoms.

*Exercise: To reduce stress levels. May also involve stretching, yoga and tai-chi. Some have also found meditation to be helpful.

What To Tell Your Doctor When You Suspect Migraine:

*Your/family medical history.

*Any medications you are currently taking (whether over-the-counter or prescription and for whatever reason you are taking them - related to headache pain or not). Telling also how often you take those medications.


Some sufferers may find relief in over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprophen. Many will need a medical prescription, usually a triptan. As there are a variety of triptans available, if one does not bring relief, your physician may prescribe another. Triptans may be prescribed when over-the-counter medications are found to be non-effective. Medicines, whether prescription or over-the-counter, should be taken according to the directions to help prevent rebound headaches. Rebound headaches are due to irregular or the over-use of any medications, making them less effective in treating migraines.

It is important to note that may migraine suffers have also been found to suffer from depression as well. Anti-depressants have also been prescribed for patients who do not suffer from depression, however, due to their effectiveness in treating migraine symptoms. Blood pressure and/or anti-convulsant medications may be prescribed as well, when other medications do not bring relief.

Rare Migraine Symptoms:

Some migraine sufferers may mistake signs of a stroke being due to migraine symptoms. If you experience a pain in the head (that can be described more like an electrical surge in feeling and/or sound), accompanied by slurred speech and numbness in the limbs (especially in the arms), see a physician right away.


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    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

      Wow!! - Pamela99, Thanks a bunch for your comments. Glad you found this hub resourceful. Have a great day!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I love your chart so someone can compare migraine to tension headaches. This hub if is filled with a lot of excellent information. Rated up and awesome.